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seoGuide

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					By Joe White

Contents


Part 1 – The ground rules

Part 2 – Choosing your keywords

Part 3 – Getting your site listed

Part 4 – Optimising your Site

Part 5 – Summary and results
Part 1 – The ground rules
Search Engine Optimisation with our software is much like Search Engine Optimisation with any website.
The key is to make sure that your site contents are focused and relevant to the keywords that you wish
to rank highly on. This means making a real effort in a number of places to make sure the terms you use
are consistent. And don't be too ambitious, you're never going to beat the big guys if your words are too
general and competitive.

This guide is based on our experience and generally accepted industry guidelines on how to improve
website search rankings. It doesn't guarantee results, but will point you in the right direction ;-). If you
want more specialist help, employ an SEO consultant, or read the huge range of SEO articles available
online.

Throughout this guide we make reference to a website www.joeslondontaxis.com which was built using
our tools to test the theories in the articles and show how to get practical results. All results were correct
at the time this guide was written in 2007.




                                             Joe’s London Taxis



Ground rules!

Firstly nobody can guarantee you positions in the search rankings. Search engines keep their search
algorithms very secret and update them regularly to make sure they produce true and accurate results.




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The second thing to know is that SEO takes real work. You’re going to have to give it some thought and
make changes to all the pages in your site. This will take time and you may want to adjust things after a
few months as you start to see results. The Internet is a great potential market but you need to invest
time and effort in marketing your site if you want it to be successful. SEO is a good way of doing this but
like most things it doesn't always come easy.

Next, it's going to take time for your rankings to improve. Search engines can take months to even list
your site and then further time to assign you a rank. They will then review your site periodically and
check for updates but the frequency of this can vary. So don't expect too much too soon. Be patient,
build your credibility and presence, and good things will come. Many sites that rank highly have been
around a long, long time.

Also worth considering is that SEO isn't everything. Not using traditional marketing methods for your site
is a big mistake, especially if you're serious about getting it noticed. Traditional offline marketing, online
marketing (banners or AdWords), putting your URL on letterheads, posting it on industry specific
directories/message boards, etc., can all help and these actions will also support your SEO efforts too.
So don't forget to look at other forms of marketing too.

And finally, the one thing many users forget! It is making their site and its content memorable. It is
absolutely pointless spending time and effort getting your site up the rankings if your content is poor,
your site’s style ugly and the navigation challenging. The best way to ensure you get customers is focus
on your website content and usability (how visitors interact with your site). The famous line, ‘Build it and
they will come’ certainly applies here. Given a choice you should spend more time making your website
‘sticky’ (visitors hang around: they browse, they read, they join and they buy) than worrying about SEO.
But if you have polished your ‘product’ – your site – and you now want to market it, let’s get cracking…

First things first


So, now that the ground rules are out of the way, here are the basics. If you are building a new site, you
have two challenges: getting your site listed, and improving its rankings. Even getting your site listed is a
subject surrounded in controversy but it also closely relates to how you get it optimised.

In terms of optimisation it’s important to know that search engines look for consistency and relevancy
within a number of different areas of your in-page content and within your referral links. These include:

    1.   The URL (or web address) of your page, e.g. www.joeslondontaxis.com, or
         www.joeslondontaxis.com/taxibooking, etc.

    2.   Your Page title in the HTML, e.g. "London taxi company", or "London taxi bookings page"

    3.   Your Keywords metadata in the HTML, e.g. "London taxis, London taxi, Joes taxis, West
         London taxi, etc."

    4.   Your Description metadata in the HTML, e.g. "London taxi company provides taxi services..."

    5.   Your page content, e.g. the text that is on your page, including headings (or section titles) which




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         are treated differently from body text

    6.   Links on your page, including the anchor text, e.g. the text on which the link is set

    7.   Images on your page, including the name of the image file, and the link (if any) set on the image



    8.   Referral links to your pages, including the anchor text of the referral link, e.g. a link on another
         site referring to your site

    9.   Points 1-7 are easily within your control as they all relate to the contents of your site. Point 8
         requires linking to your site from other external sites, which is less easy to achieve, though there
         are a number of ways in which you can go about doing this.

Remember, while search engines are mechanical they do have some intelligence! They are in a constant
battle with link spammers who attempt to manipulate ranking results for profit. Optimising your pages
and encouraging genuine link backs from other relevant sites will help but getting involved in link
spamming and other dodgy techniques such as spamming keywords or content can get your site black
listed. So more isn't always best, make sure links, content and keywords are all genuine.

This guide will go through each of these points in turn and discuss how they are relevant to our software
as well as how to go about achieving each one of them.

Like I said, none of this is provable fact, but it is based on perceived wisdom and what little guidance
search engines give out. However, we also want to encourage debate. So if you know something useful
or have found a good resource please let us know.



Part 2 – Choosing your keywords
Now we reach the how to stage for getting your site effectively optimised for Search Engines. This
section now kicks off with a discussion on what to do, so pay close attention!

One of the key points in the ground rules section is that "search engines look for consistency and
relevancy within a number of different areas of your in-page content and within your referral links". Let's
start at the top and talk about keywords themselves, as these will be the important building blocks of
your SEO tactics.



Keywords explained


Keywords are the words or phrases that you want people to be able to find you under when they do a
search on the internet. These are essentially the words or phrases that best describe your business and
the things that people would think of when they are interested in your goods or services. The more
specific the words or phrases match what you offer, the more likely it will be to drive people to your site.

Let's take my example company 'Joe's London Taxis' and see how it works. For this fictional business,




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there are a number of keywords we could try. For each word or phrase below I've indicated how many
terms or results are returned by google.com as an example of their competitiveness. Here are some
terms I could use:

business (1.4 billion results on Google)
car (652 million)
london (402 million)
taxi (97 million)

These don't seem too good. The sheer volume of pages returned on these terms will make it very hard
for them to ever have an impact for my little business. How about:

london taxi (2.7 million)
west london taxi (1.6 million)
hammersmith taxi (221,000)
london minicab (220,000)
west london minicab (96,000)
hammersmith minicab (24,500)

That's getting a bit better. Using two or three word phrases improves your chances of ranking highly as
these phrases attract fewer competing companies and can be more specific to your market. And it looks
like 'minicab' produces much less competition than 'taxi', i.e. there is a greater chance I can score highly
with 'minicab' as fewer companies compete for this word. This will all help me make my choices about
which keyword phrases I should use for my site.

As the effectiveness of the search improves, the number of search results will drop, so it's a balancing
act between being on page 100 for a top phrase with millions of searches and being on page 1 for a less
used phrase with only a few thousand. Personally I think higher up and more focused is better.



How many keywords should you use?


That's debatable too. Most articles suggest less is more; as few as 5 keyword phrases per page as a
target, e.g. "london taxi, west london taxi, west london minicab, london airport taxi, hammersmith taxi" is
5 keyword phrases (usually just separated by a comma). Most keyword optimisers won't complain until
you have more than 15-20. So somewhere in the range 5-20 won't hurt. I chose 15 for my example site.

If you have an exciting or unique brand name then this should be included in your keywords (and
probably included in your URL too).

Don’t forget, your keywords will need to vary from page to page reflecting the contents of that page.
There can be some overlap, but you can take different page contents as an opportunity to expand your
list of keywords. For example, for my page www.joeslondontaxis.com/taxibooking I wanted to choose
words relating to booking a taxi, e.g. "book a london taxi, london taxi booking, etc."

It's best to plan the keywords for each of your pages and only then start to go through the pages




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themselves and make sure the keywords are correctly represented and consistent in the right places.

So there's your first piece of homework: work out the keywords and phrases for each of your different
pages. Don't worry about getting it 'right' first time. These are things you can change as you go along,
but try to think about the important, specific phrases that summarise or capture the contents of each of
your pages.



Part 3 – Getting your site listed
We've now prepared our keywords and that will come in handy for optimising the site, but the first
challenge is getting the site listed at all. Search engines can take a long time (3-6 months) to list new
sites although there are some things you can do to speed this up. However, even getting your site listed
can be a controversial topic.

It's no secret that Google uses in-bound links as a way of assessing the importance and subject of your
site. By this I mean it works out how many sites link to your site and what keywords they use in their link.
It also factors in the 'importance' of the sites that are linking to your site based on their 'page rank' which
is a value (on a scale of 1 - 10) attributed to those sites by Google. If a high 'page rank' site links to your
site it is deemed to be a valuable link, which in turn will boost your own site’s 'page rank'. Visit the sites
below for more details:

http://www.google.com/technology/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PageRank

Before your site can even get a page rank it needs to be indexed and then listed. Before it can be
indexed and listed, it needs to be found by the search engine. So how does that happen?

There are two schools of thought in this: either adding your URL directly with the search engines or using
inbound links (from popular sites) to direct them to your site more naturally. Using a combination of both
methods is also worth considering.



Add URL


The first way is to submit your URL directly to the search engines using the 'add url' pages that they
provide, e.g.

Google - http://www.google.com/addurl/?continue=/addurl
Yahoo - http://search.yahoo.com/info/submit.html
MSN - http://search.msn.com.sg/docs/submit.aspx

This method should in theory allow them to index your site quickly and efficiently. However, there is
some debate as to whether this is counter-productive.

Sites submitted in this way are usually new sites and often those that do not have a large number of
inbound links. This leads some people to believe that as 'new sites' the search engines will discriminate




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against them and delay their full indexing. There is also debate about whether a 'Google sandbox' exists
which is supposedly a holding area of newly submitted sites until they move into the main index.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandbox_Effect (note this article is disputed)



Google denies there is any sandbox. Others speculate that this observed phenomenon is merely the
result of how the complex Google algorithms index web sites and Google’s constant battle against
spammers.


Inbound links
The other less controversial way to get your site listed is by using inbound links, particularly those that
contain your most important keywords in the link text and come from sites which have content that is
related to your own.

Even a single high quality inbound link can put the search engines onto your site and get it indexed
quickly. Once at your site, the search engine web crawlers or bots will then spider all the pages and work
out how it links together.

There are several ways to go about getting good inbound links and there are certainly more than we list
here, but these are a few recommended ideas:

    •    Add your site to relevant local directories - these might be business directories or
         interest/subject based directories, but make sure they are reputable.


    •    Contact webmasters of related sites and ask for reciprocal link exchanges - this is where you
         place a link on your site to them in exchange for a link on their site to you. Don't be too
         ambitious with this as big popular sites are not going to link to your site out of the goodness of
         their heart. Try to find sites of a similar size and subject to your own which will entertain the idea
         of you helping each other.


    •    Write articles about your subject including a link to your site - any article must actually contain
         useful information otherwise it won't get published. So if you're an expert in the area you’re
         writing about and it is relevant to your site, give the article to other site owners who are likely to
         publish it with a link back to your site. Make sure the article contains some of your relevant
         keywords. (This may also be possible with useful contributions to blog articles or forums, but be
         very careful about link spamming - if you don't have anything genuinely useful to say, don't say
         it!)

Once your site has been indexed, you're in a much stronger position for the future. Sites that have been
around for a long time have a legitimate history and tend to stay in the indexes. If you have an existing
site that is indexed, then try linking that one to your new site.

You can check and see if your site is listed by typing 'site:www.youraddress.com' into the Google or
Yahoo search. Remember if you have multiple domain names make sure you try each of them.




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If you're using your own domain name make sure you are using the IP pointing method we recommend
and not the masked forwarding option often offered by domain companies. Masked forwarding will make
it very difficult for your site to get listed, as it appears to have no content!

So there you have it. Now, let's get listed!

I linked my site www.joeslondontaxis.com from our online blog. Because our blog has a page rank of 5
with Google and is regularly updated this was a good starting point. My site was indexed by Google
within 2 weeks, though it took 3 months to appear on Yahoo.



Part 4 – Optimising your site
OK, so you've done the work, got your keywords worked out for your different pages, got your site listed
(registered) on the major search engines (see previous section), now what do you do? How do you make
the changes using our tools? Good question. Here is the ‘how-to’...

Now that you've got your list of keywords, you’re ready to start making some changes. These keywords
(or phrases) are your target words that you want your site to be found with when people use the search
engines. Therefore, you will want to make sure that they are used appropriately on your site and that
there is consistency in how they appear.

However, this still needs to be done in a sensible fashion. Just dumping a bunch of words on your site
that don't really make sense or fit with your site or page can lead to problems, so this needs to be done
carefully.

My keywords


For my site (www.joeslondontaxis.com) I chose a set of keywords which were:

"joes london taxis, london taxi, west london taxi, hammersmith taxi, london minicab, west london
minicab, london airport minicab, london airport taxi, london taxis, west london taxis, hammersmith taxis,
london minicab, west london minicab, london airport minicab, london airport taxis"

This is the general set that I chose as appropriate for the different markets I am interested in, e.g. mostly
in west London and including airport services. I further tailored them to each of my pages to make sure
that they were better matched.

For example on my 'taxi bookings' page (www.joeslondontaxis.com/taxibooking) I used:

"book a london taxi, london taxi booking, west london taxi, book a minicab, london minicab booking, joes
london taxis, london taxi, west london taxi, hammersmith taxi, london minicab, west london minicab"

This contained some overlap with my site keywords, but it also contained more specific words/phrases to
do with my bookings page. Using these two pages as an example I entered the keywords onto the pages
in such a way that they would be usefully picked up by search engines.




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Step By Step

If you remember from the first section, we had 8 different areas to optimise. I'll go through each of these
in turn:


1. The URL (or address) of your page

This can be the URL of your site, or indeed the URL of a particular page. In my case I would use
www.joeslondontaxis.com for the site, or www.joeslondontaxis.com/taxibooking for the Bookings page.

This URL should be relevant to the contents of the page and use (if appropriate) some of your keywords.
For example, my company 'Joe's London Taxis' is also my domain name, and my bookings page is
named /taxibooking (not page1.htm). If you have a brand name that isn't specific to your product, e.g.
Youtube provides videos online, don't worry about that, just make sure it's one of your keywords, as it
may be something people search for.

You can change the names of your pages in the ‘Pages’ panel which can be accessed from the Pages
icon on the Toolbar.




                                   Changing the names of your pages



2. Your page title in the HTML: e.g. "London taxi company", or "London taxi bookings page"




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3. Your Keywords metadata in the HTML: e.g. "london taxis, london taxi, joes taxis, west london taxi,
etc."

4. Your Description metadata in the HTML: e.g. "london taxi company provides taxi services..."

The 'Title' tag in the HTML is the name you see at the top of the browser bar when you visit the page.
The Keywords metadata is also hidden in the HTML and gives the search engine an idea of what your
site is about based on particular words and phrases. The Descriptions metadata is again hidden in the
HTML and is a short text summary of your site.

All three are important to get correct and consistent as they are used by search engines, though always
in context with the rest of your site contents. Using our tools there are a couple of ways of setting these
things. We let you set a default for all pages (useful if you have hundreds), but we also allow you to set
these for individual pages, giving you more control.

If you go to 'Admin' -> 'Site information' you'll see the 'Site name', 'Site keywords' and 'Site description'
fields – we can ignore ‘Site email’ here. These will be the default metadata values that are inserted into
the HTML for all of your pages, unless other values are added to the individual page settings
themselves.




                                       Editing your site information




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For individual pages, go to 'Pages' -> 'Metadata' and you will see the 'Page title', 'Keywords’ and
‘Description' fields which insert the values into the HTML for that particular page.




                                    Editing the metadata on a page


For example, with my site I chose to set the default keywords to:

Keywords - "joes london taxis, london taxi, west london taxi, hammersmith taxi, london minicab, west
london minicab, london airport minicab, london airport taxi, london taxis, west london taxis, hammersmith
taxis, london minicab, west london minicab, london airport minicab, london airport taxis"

Description - "Joes London Taxis provides taxi services to all central and west London areas. If you want
a west London taxi, call us on 0870 23 34 xx"

These appear on every page I created and will remain unless I generate a different set for specific pages
using the 'Page Settings' panel. For my Taxi Bookings page, I decided to create a different set and
changed these to:

Title - "Taxi booking page - book a London taxi"

Keywords - "book a london taxi, london taxi booking, west london taxi, book a minicab, london minicab
booking, joes london taxis, london taxi, west london taxi, hammersmith taxi, london minicab, west london
minicab"

Description - "Use this page to book a west London taxi with Joes London Taxis. Book by phone or by
email."




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You can see how simple it is to make some adjustments to the keywords/description so that it is more
specific to the actual page you are on, without having to change them all.



5. Your page content: e.g. the text that is on your page

This includes all the contents on your page, particularly text and any 'alt tags' (alternative text) you have
attached to your images. All this text is represented in the HTML and therefore gets picked up and used
by search engines, so make sure it includes some of your keywords. Don't just dump them on the page
so that it becomes a mess of words (remember your site is read by people too!); you have to make sure
that they are relevant and appropriate with the message of the page.

For example, on my site I've included the following passage on the ‘home’ page:

"Picking up and dropping off 24 hours per day!! If you want a west London Taxi call us now" and "So
when you want to book a west London Taxi just think of us and call 0870 23 34 xx".

Both of these include my "west London taxi" keyword which, with other references to "Taxi bookings" and
other services I offer on the page, will support my rankings. But I've been careful to make sure it's still
readable and not overly crowded.

Search engines also pay attention to ‘Heading tags’ within your HTML, which are generally used to
describe sections of your content. Words that appear within the headings are also deemed to be of
greater importance in your site.

We generate three levels of heading tags on your pages based on your content: H1, H2 and H3. H1 is
the most important and H3 the least. Any title text boxes that you put on your page are automatically
turned into H2 headings in the HTML. The very first of the title text boxes that appears on your page
(from top to bottom) is given the H1 status.

In body text boxes, if you use bold headings to separate text, i.e. adding the ‘bold’ style to create a
heading within a text box, then these are given H3 status.



6. Links on your page, including the anchor text: e.g. the text on which the link is set

As well as the menu links on your page (which use the menu name as ‘alt’ text) links in text on your page
are a good way of reinforcing your keywords and creating interlinking between your pages.

For example on my home page, I have created a link on the words "book a west london taxi" which links
to my ‘taxi booking’ page. To do this you have to be using a 'body text box’ which is preset with standard
or system fonts as only this type of font permits links ('graphic fonts' do not allow links to be set). Select
the text box so that you can edit the contents and then highlight the text string by clicking and dragging.
Go to the editor, click on the ‘link’ panel, choose 'link to a page' and then select your page. Finally, use
'apply' to save the page. This link will be correctly represented in your HTML along with the 'anchor text'




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which is the word or words on which the link is set, and will be read and indexed by search engines.




                                Creating a link back to your homepage



Additionally, on my Taxi Bookings page (and other pages), I have created links in the text back to my
Home page using anchor text like "Joes West London taxis", etc.

Try to make sure that all your pages have 1, 2 or 3 links to other pages using relevant keywords. Don't
get carried away and put in 10 to 20 links as this might be overkill and result in search engines
penalising you for link spamming.



7. Images on your page

Your images can also be used to flag keywords as well as provide a text description of the image itself.
For example on my home page I have set an 'alt tag' on the image to say "London Taxi image - book a
west london taxi". This additional text provides extra information about your site and the text description
makes the contents more accessible to users with screen readers i.e. the visually impaired. You can also
make these images link to other pages in your site which will further improve the interlinking of pages.




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To create an 'alt tag' on your image, select the image, click on the 'Style' tab in the 'Editor' and then use
the 'alt tag' button. Enter your text and choose whether you want to display the text on rollover (it will
always be displayed in the HTML), click 'Apply' and you're done.




                                      Adding an alt tag to an image



8. Referral links to your pages

We used referral links to get the site listed in the first place, but they are also a good tool to improve the
keyword relevancy and keep your site high in the rankings. It's always worth asking other site owners in
related fields to put a link back to your site and include some of your keywords in the link text. Not
everyone will do this and it’s best not to pester people too much, but if you already have a relationship
with another site owner, then this could be a good thing to do.



Part 5 – Summary


And that, as they say, is that!


Like we said at the beginning, this is not meant to be the ‘be all and end all’ of SEO guides, but it does
provide some useful, practical tips in a confusing world. Please (please!) remember, that this is not an
instant process. It will take some time before your new site starts appearing in the search results. But




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follow the steps above, be patient and you can bet that your site will eventually turn up, and a hell of a lot
quicker than if you did nothing.


So, all that is left to say is, good luck with optimising your site.



The results

The last time we checked the results of our optimisation for the www.joeslondontaxis.com website was
July 31st 2008, with results unchanged from December 12th 2007. The rankings were:

"West London Taxi" - number 1, "Joes London Taxis" - number 1 (Google.com)
"West London Taxi" - number 1, "Joes London Taxis" - number 1 (Yahoo.com)
"West London Taxi" - number 6, "Joes London Taxis" - number 1 (msn.com)

* As of January 15 2009, these results have remained unchanged despite doing no addition work to the
websites or their SEO.




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